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Russia rechecks 2018 FIFA World Cup stadiums

Moscow: Three Russian cities are rechecking their existing and prospective stadiums for 2018 FIFA World Cup after the governing body of international football hinted it may cut the number of arenas.

The double check of the construction projects will be held in Volgograd in southern Russia, western exclave of Kaliningrad and Yekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains, reports Xinhua.

The three cities are in danger of being blacklisted by FIFA because of excessive spending on the tournament preparations, as well as lack of proper medical facilities and transportation infrastructure, according to Russian sports media R-Sport.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter Monday questioned Russia’s preparations for the 2018 World Cup, saying FIFA will discuss the possibility of reducing the number of stadiums to be used in four years time.

Blatter also said he intended to visit Russia in September to monitor the preparation work.

Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with Blatter during his visit to Brazil last week. Putin said Russia will introduce a specialised visa-free entry policy during the World Cup.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the country had allocated $20 billion — some $9 billion more than Brazil — for the tournament in 2018. Most of the money will be spent on the 12 stadiums and relevant infrastructure in 11 host cities.